2: Natural Advantage a Business Imperative
Helix provides a whole-system menu that enables
a business to explore, experiment, implement,
and eventually mainstream its choice of sustainability
strategies. It offers a sequenced flow of
sustainability activities that leads to continual
improvement rather than the trial and error
approach that necessarily characterized the
efforts of the sustainability pioneers.
Manufacturing Centre - GreenPlants Program
Learning Network is designed to help SME Manufacturers
to become more familiar with sustainable manufacturing's
premises, promises and successes. To help we
have created-with the help of Hunter Lovins,
author of Natural Capitalism-a web course. Introduction
to the sustainability Helix. CMC wasthe
first organisation to work with the Sustainability
Helix to talor the material to the needs of
its clients and partners.
last three decades have been difficult for many
firms. No sooner do governments set environmental
standards than communities demand higher standards.
Business leaders believe that there is an inherent
trade-off between environmental quality and
economic production; that activists do not respect
this; and that the goalposts keep shifting.
One of the best reasons for a company to commit
to increasing its sustainability is that it
is the best way to avoid this dilemma. Once
firms adopt a sustainability orientation, the
shifting challenges become a rationale for continual
improvement leading to mutually reinforcing
environmental and economic outcomes: that is,
to sustainable development.
So far, in this section, we have demonstrated
why companies should achieve both pioneering and
systemic change, and how many are doing so. The
arguments for the adoption of sustainable development
practices are becoming increasingly clear to business.
A further indication of this commitment is shown
by the number of organizations that are members
of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
(2300 and growing), and have signed the ‘Business
Charter for Sustainable Development’. ICC
members include such corporations as Norsk Hydro,
Deloitte & Touche, Akzo Nobel and Xerox. Increasingly,
the focus of the international business community
is on the challenge of finding genuine solutions
to the problems of development. At the core of
sustainable development is the concept of resource
productivity and ensuring that resources are used
to benefit society. We have shown how doing this
can lower costs; reduce hazards through designing
out toxics and carcinogens; and build brand equity.
Firms that adopt sustainable development as a
core principle are strategically positioning themselves
to achieve lasting competitive advantage by:
Staying ahead of government regulations, broader
societal changes and community expectations;
Capitalizing on an increasing number of market-based
mechanisms, such as cap and trade schemes for
greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. the Chicago Climate
Exchange and the European Climate Exchange;
(3) Foreseeing and avoiding major threats and
adapting to major societal changes through applying
Porter’s 5 Forces Model with the latest
consensus on the potential sixth force as outlined
in this section.
This section has
shown that there is much that business can do
in the coming century to increase competitive
advantage in ways that are complimentary to the
environment and the world’s communities.
As the understanding of the challenge broadens,
so too does the realization that we all have a
role to play: both as individuals and as a members
of the various teams we are involved with. The
work in this section, along with the growing volume
of international material on this subject, suggests
that, for firms, it is clear that sustainability
needs to be implemented under the following activity
- Governance and Management;
- Operations and Facilities;
- Design and Process Innovation;
- Human Resource Development and Corporate
- Marketing and communications; and
- Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement.
Nov 2004: Applying
the Sustainability Helix, (Chicago, USA) in
partnership with Chicago Manufacturing Centre
and Natural Capitalism Inc.
The Sustainability Helix
and Implementation Tool, developed in partnership
between TNEP and Hunter Lovins and the team from
Natural Capitalism, Inc., was delivered as a training
and strategic assistance tool through a 2 day
stakeholder workshop. The structure of the Sustainability
Helix provides a step-by-step approach for business
to assist in creating a "Green Plant"
and will be scaled to the needs of small and midsize
manufacturers. In further developing the GreenPlants
Program, the Chicago Manufacturing Centre (CMC)
is consulting with state and local government
and community-based organizations to factor in
the social impact of sustainable enterprise development.
promotes and helps small and midsize manufacturers
in the Chicago metropolitan region implement-step
by step-sustainable or green manufacturing practices.
The aim for the GreenPlants' initiative expand
on Mayor Richard Daley's goal to make the city
the greenest in the nation. CMC wants to make
Chicago the "greenest and most sustainable"
industrial region in the country.
Workshop participants, TNEP's Nick Palousis far
References from the Book
Endorsement of the ICC Charter is voluntary where
the companies that sign it commit themselves to
respecting its 16 principles for environmental
management. The ICC reviews how companies that
have endorsed the Charter are applying the principles.